Hubby works in sports. Fall means football. He travels for work most weekends in the fall, Friday through Sunday. That means Friday mornings are a tad hectic, mostly for him; I am up and out the door by 6 a.m. He relies on either Nana or or our babysitter to relieve him of childcare duties so he can get out the door and to his plane on time.
So Friday I try to be as efficient as possible to see my scheduled patients and take care of all the lab and xray results/ phone calls/ emails so that I can leave as early as possible in the afternoon. I fight my way through pretty bad afternoon rush hour traffic, to get to Nana’s, have a quick dinner, and then pack up the kids. She helps and then accompanies us to my house to help me with the nighttime routine.
Yes, she comes home with us to help. My feeling is, that with an energetic, willful toddler, and a needy 9 month old, it takes two to handle bedtime. Thanks goodness she agrees!
I am sure there are moms out there who handle bedtime solo (and maybe even with one hand tied behind their backs) for 2 or even more kids this age. I am not one of them, and I feel no need to pretend that I am. I do not believe I should even attempt to feed/ bathe/ dress/ coax to their cribs my two little lovelies, all by myself. I think if I did attempt such a feat, it would only set me up for losing my temper with the kids in the short term, and alot of deep resentment in the long term. Why set myself up? To any moms out there who feel like the need to decalre that they handle all ages of young children for many tasks at various times of the day without complaining about it, I say, enjoy your antidepressants. I’m not ashamed to ask for, and accept, help. Actually, I’m pretty happy to do so!
So Nana (in all of her saintliness) devotes her evenings to us while Hubby is away. She usually takes Babygirl duty, while I manhandle Babyboy away from his toys, upstairs to the changing table, into the tub, somehow wash his hair which usually has jelly and ice cream in it, then get him away from his tub toys, into a diaper (major effort), and into pajamas (also a major effort). This generally involves a screaming fit or two (his, not mine) and at least a few times now, a puddle of urine on the floor. That’s when I can’t wrestle him into a diaper soon enough. So far, we haven’t had a wet bed, as his favorite nighttime activity is to wiggle out of the towel, slide across the bathroom floor, down the hall, to climb on our bed and jump up and down naked, giggling. It’s cute, but perilous. I truly do not want to add “changing the entire bed” to the list of nighttime duties.
Meantime Nana is setting up Babygirl’s sink tub (The Puj is a great invention), undressing her, bathing her, picking out pajamas, then trying some new gentle technique to dress her. The one time our exceptionally good-natured Babygirl is fussy is when she is being dressed. She seems to hate it! Once the Onesie is being pulled down over her head, she cries loudly and angrily, until it’s done.
Then it’s warm milkie for the both of them, an episode of Pajanimals, and then Babyboy has to kiss everyone goodnight, and come upstairs with me for reading books, then lights out, then lullabye time, then into the crib. This can go smoothly, or it cannot. Babyboy loves reading books, and we never really put a limit on how many books he can read before we stop and turn the lights out. I usually watch him to see when does he rub his eyes or show any real sign of fatigue. This is usually after about 4 or 5 books. But we’ve gone way more than that, including re-reading “Tough trucks” 5 times in one go. (He loves trucks). And we don’t mind all the reading- he’s INTO it. He follows along, sounds out letters sometimes, points to things as I’m saying them… You can see the intellectual stimulation!
Once we get through all the books to lights out, we sing a few lullabyes, and then, invariably, he does “the turn”. He’ll ask for or snuggle with his little teddy bear blankie, and turn into my chest as if to bunk down for the night. We’ll rock like that for awhile, and then usually I can place him in his crib without an issue. (Or not. If not, I call Nana in for backup. She’s like the Baby Whisperer, and usually can achieve sleepiness in an otherwise wired-up child.)
Meantime Nana has given Babygirl a bottle, and rocked her to sleep… If she’s asleep, we place her in her crib, and Nana leaves me to the last bits of nighttime routine so she can go home and clean her poor house too. Sometimes Babygirl is still awake, and I’ll sit with her on the couch, watching Cooking Channel. She’ll start rubbing her eyes soon, and then it’s just a matter of putting Chris Botti’s version of “Amazing Grace” on, and rocking her a bit, and off she goes too.
By then it’s usually around 9 p.m. I can count on Babygirl waking up again between 12 and 2 a.m. for a bottle. If hubby is away, Babyboy also wakes up, usually later, like between 3 and 5 a.m. for a drink of juice, and needs to be rocked back to sleep. Then , there’s our cats, Raffy and Leo. They’ll either fight on the bed requiring intervention, or even better, like this Friday, one of them will puke in the bedroom and I’ll find myself cleaning cat vomit at 4 a.m.
Then back to sleep. Until 7 a.m. Saturday when Babygirl wakes up… Then it’s juggling the making of her bottle and my coffee, and Sesame Street, until Babyboy wakes up too, then it’s warm milk and toast with butter and jelly and more Sesame Street… and the day begins.
And that is a typical Friday in the Fall for us. A long day, but a comfy, routine long day…